Since the phase out of motorcycles and tricycles from the roads of Lagos state, the government has shifted its attention to ride-hailing companies, Uber and Bolt. There have been series of reported cases of clashes between Uber/Bolt drivers and the authorities.
Reportedly, the Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) have been requesting certifications, hackney permits, and strangely, operating licenses as well, which are supposed to be obtained by 3rd party operators themselves, from these drivers as requirements to operate in the state.
Apparently, sometime ago, Uber had stopped making hackney permits, which turn private vehicles to commercial ones, a requirement, and now that it is required by the state it has become a source of inconvenience for all stake holders.
Although there has been no official announcement just yet, it seems as if the conversations with authorities and affected companies are leaning towards a N10million naira license fee and N25million fee for those with more than 1000 drivers.
Subsequently, the ride-hailing companies would pay annual renewal fees of N5million, and N10million if they have over 1000 drivers.
For transport companies that own their own cars with employed drivers, the regulation may mandate them to pay N5million. However, if their drivers exceed 50, they would be required to pay N10 million.
Operators, who own their vehicles and employ drivers will also be required to pay the fee of N5million and N10million if there are more than 50 drivers. The state government also expects to earn 10% on the fee for each trip.
However, these regulations are not finalized and may still be amended; like Ayoade Ibrahim, the President of the National Union of Professional E-hailing Driver- Partners said, conversations with the state government are still being had as regards that.
Ayoade also said that to argue their case, the government would need to reconsider its stance, as such outrageous fees would not only affect these businesses but also stifle the services provided, which in turn would affect citizens that use the platforms.
Nevertheless, tech companies would need to be flexible enough to respond to changing rules and policies, not only at the national level but locally too, mostly because states and municipalities have their own sets of rules.
Regulations and regulatory bodies are undeniably important, to have a process and order for the way things are done. However, such outlandish expectations from businesses or startups could be deterrents to innovative technology solutions which may lead to more conducive living and that otherwise foster economic growth.
1. Policies can become market catalysts: the government can implement a policy that may change social behavior in business by underwriting the development of new technology that would bring necessary change, like in this case, potentially imposing on the transport sector more taxes than are necessary would likely make investors lose interest.
2. A stable political system can make businesses: friendly decisions promote local businesses and attract foreign investors. Unstable systems, on the other hand, present challenges that jeopardize the ability of government to maintain law and order.
3. The government gets money to spend from taxation; increased spending requires an increase in taxes or borrowing. Any tax increase will discourage investment, especially among entrepreneurs, who take the risks of starting and managing businesses which will eat into the limited pool of savings, leaving less money for private investment which in turn leads to elimination of jobs. This is true in reality when you see the number of drivers and riders who have been and may be out of jobs as a result of the new transport policies in Lagos state.
4. The requirements for permits or licenses have effects on business – tech businesses might spend a lot of money and time to comply with regulations that ultimately prove to be ineffective and unnecessary. Fair and effective regulations should promote business growth.
#EndSARS: FG expects increase in Covid-19 cases in the next 2 weeks
FG has warned that the ongoing #EndSARS protest may spark up a second wave of coronavirus.
The Federal Government has warned that Nigerians should expect an increase in the number of coronavirus cases across the country in the next 2 weeks.
This is due to the total disregard of the preventive measures against the virus during the ongoing nationwide #EndSARS protest which has been witnessing huge gatherings.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, October 20, 2020.
He said despite the appreciable success recorded so far in the fight against COVID-19, the ongoing protest may spark up a second wave of the virus.
Mustapha said, “I can say it authoritatively that with the ongoing protest across the country, in the next two weeks the cases of COVID-19 would have increased. Each and everyone that attended the protest and did not put up any form of protection is likely going to spread the virus. When people contract the virus during the protest gathering, they will go back home and spread it.
“This is one of the reasons why we must be extremely careful when we congregate because when you gather together in such an atmosphere where people don’t wear face masks or maintain the social distance you are creating a potential opportunity for carriers to spread the virus.
“So far we have done pretty well as a country but this protest is like a setback and we must avoid a situation where we will have a resurgence. Countries that thought they have overcome are dealing with the second wave. We are extremely lucky as a nation and we should be careful of any situation that can warrant the second wave.”
He said any mass gathering that does not adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been put in place, like wearing of face masks, social distancing, and keeping personal hygiene, becomes a super spreader event.
What it means: With the expected spike in the number of Covid-19 cases due to these protests across the country, Nigeria runs the risk of having a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak which had before now been on a decline. This could lead to the resumption of lockdown measures by the government, in order to contain the spread of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 19th of October 2020, 118 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 61,558 confirmed cases.
On the 19th of October 2020, 118 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 11,794 samples across the country.
To date, 61,558 cases have been confirmed, 56,697 cases have been discharged and 1125 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 590,635 tests have been carried out as of October 19th, 2020 compared to 578,841 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 61,558
- Total Number Discharged – 56,697
- Total Deaths – 1,1125
- Total Tests Carried out – 590,635
According to the NCDC, The 118 new cases are reported from 10 states – Lagos (51), Rivers (26), Imo (12), Osun (8), Plateau (6), FCT (5), Kaduna (4), Ogun (3), Edo (2), Niger (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,696, followed by Abuja (5,923), Plateau (3,587), Oyo (3,415), Rivers (2,735), Edo (2,645), Kaduna (2,532), Ogun (1,983), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,657), Enugu (1,313), Kwara (1,050), Ebonyi (1,049), Osun (916), Katsina (904), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 610 cases, Benue (484), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (275), Niger (274), Adamawa (248), Sokoto (162), Taraba (117), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara and Yobe (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Nigerian firm set to raise $1.2 billion to purchase electricity meters
MAPCo plans to raise N480 billion to purchase electricity meters and to help the DISCOs plug revenue gaps in their operations.
A Nigerian firm, Meter Assets Finance and Management Company (MAPCo), has concluded plans to raise N480 billion ($1.2 billion) over the next 3 years, to purchase electricity meters and help the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) plug revenue gaps in their operations.
This is also in line with the Federal Government’s initiative to ensure that all electricity consumers are metered, which will put an end to estimated billing by the DISCOs.
According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, less than one-tenth of Nigeria’s 41 million households have their electricity consumption metered, and half of those are faulty. As a result, distribution companies have to estimate bills, resulting in constant conflict with the consumers that delay payments.
The Chief Executive Officer of New Hampshire Capital, Onion Omonforma, said the Meter Assets Finance and Management Co. hopes to end the practice of estimated billings by raising funds to purchase and supply meters to consumers.
New Hampshire Capital, FBNQuest and Kairos Investments Africa are helping to package and structure the venture, known as MAPCo, for investors to either buy equity or inject debt into the company.
What they are saying
Omonformaa said, “The electricity distribution firms will then have the money to go back and buy more meters and the cycle continues, paving the way to close the metering gap. MAPCo will collect the cost of the meters from consumers at a premium over the next 10 years. The meters will be handed over to the power-distribution companies once paid off.’’
While disclosing that MAPCo plans to issue a N100 billion bond in the next year, Omonforma also pointed out that roadshows have been planned for the U.S. and Europe, and will include local institutional investors.
He said, “We envisage that a lot of people who are looking for a long-term instrument will key into it,”
It can be recalled that apart from repealing the estimated billing methodology in determining tariffs for electricity consumers; the Federal Government had insisted that all consumers must be metered, as part of the condition for a tariff increase.
Also, as part of the agreement reached with the organized labor in respect of the tariff increase; the Federal Government disclosed that the National Mass Metering Programme will be accelerated, with the distribution of 6 million meters to Nigerians for free.
What this means
A huge number of electricity consumers across the 36 states and the FCT are still unmetered by their respective DISCOs. This initiative by MAPCo will help bridge the existing gap, with more electricity consumers acquiring a prepaid meter and doing away with the controversial estimated billing.